When Stacey Bulluck left the military in 2002, she didn’t know where she’d end up. She was medically discharged after sustaining an injury in Egypt and wasn’t sure what to do next. But a series of events led her to VA to help her fellow Veterans. Today, she’s gone above and beyond to help the homeless Veteran community.
When she first got out, Bulluck found a volunteer position mentoring men and women at a detention center in Maryland. She helped them develop effective communication skills, adopt healthier lifestyles, and learn how to forgive and express gratitude. It was that experience which led Bulluck to VA a few years later.
Eventually, Bulluck transitioned to VA’s Homeless Programs Office in Washington, D.C., as a program analyst.
“I never thought I’d turn my passion of helping the Veteran community into a real job,” Bulluck said. “I felt like I should work in the field to help others gain a better understanding of how to treat Veterans with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Helping Veterans on the West Coast
In 2019, Bulluck relocated to Long Beach, Calif., to continue her mission helping Veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness. When she arrived at the Homeless Programs Office, she discovered that the extent of homelessness in the area was like nothing she’d seen before.
Bulluck immediately sought to establish partnerships with nonprofit organizations who could help, including one organization that worked to help formerly incarcerated women Veterans by providing transitional housing, training, and life skills training. But as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, that organization’s mission shifted.
Bulluck also reached out to the city for help, and she attended a virtual, city council meeting earlier this year to discuss how they could work together. Following the meeting, the city council asked Bulluck to lead training for city leaders on how to effectively communicate with its homeless population.
Bringing together VA with the city and other organizations has made an impact. In her free time, Bulluck serves as a liaison between the city of Long Beach and its homeless population. And her volunteer work doesn’t stop there — she is also now a board member of an organization that provides food and diapers to low-income households.
“We simply want to make sure their lives are changed, and that they have an opportunity to live and become leaders in their community,” Bulluck said. “You can’t help everyone — I wish I could. But if we just do our part, it can make all the difference.”
- Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness should contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).
Monica Diaz is the executive director of VHA’s Homeless Programs Office.